Author: Tracy

Guest Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted May 26, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Tracy
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Publisher: Context Literary Agency, Audible Original
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 354
Length: 11 hours and 52 minutes
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

Lara and her sisters are princesses who are deadly.  Their father is the King of Maridrina and has isolated his many daughters since they were five years old.  He has had tutors and trainers at their desert compound teaching them to be assassins, seductresses, poison experts; you name it, they were taught. They’ve been tortured and they have murdered. Why? Because Maridrina has a treaty with the Bridge Kingdom of Ithicana. The two kingdoms have had peace for 15 years but at the end of that term (which is now) one of the princesses would travel to Ithicana to become the queen.  King Silas of Maridrina plans on sending one of his daughters to spy on the king of Ithicana and his kingdom and send back information so that Maridrina could take the bridge and destroy Ithicana.  Not only have Lara and her sisters become fighters, they’ve also been told their entire lives that Ithicana is a horrible place, the king is an ass who cares nothing for others, and that Ithicana has such a stranglehold on trade that the Maridrinians are starving.

The daughter that is chosen to be queen of Ithicana is Marylyn. Lara, however, believes that Marylyn is too kind and will be crushed by the cruel Ithicanian king.  Lara takes matters into her own hands to ensure that she will be the one sent to Ithicana. This does happen and she is soon married to the Ithicanian King, Aren.

King Aren has no idea who/what his bride truly is. He believes Lara to be a scared mouse-like woman, even though he finds her beautiful. He secludes her in his house and moves on with his life. Despite Aren’s decision to stay away from his wife, he finds himself drawn to her. He truly wants the marriage to work and believes that with the treaty fulfilled that Ithicana and Maridrina can become allies.

With Aren occupied this gives Lara time to investigate and find secrets – she is constantly spying.  She inadvertently learns secrets of the Bridge and how to infiltrate it.  She learns other secrets about Ithicana as well and plans on sharing it all with her father.  What she didn’t count on was learning that Aren was not a monster, the Ithicanians weren’t cruel, and the reason that the Maridrinians were starving was all her father’s fault.  Lara’s world is turned upside down but Aren is there to catch her when she falls.  They fall hard for each other but despite Lara’s best efforts to keep the information about Ithicana away from her father, he gets the message loud and clear.

I won’t tell anything else because it’s so good to have the story unfold and learn each bit little by little.  I truly never expected to enjoy this book so much.  I started listening to it in audiobook but it was going too slowly for my liking and I ended up reading the second half of it.  When I finished book one I immediately wanted to start book two (even though it was already 11 at night), but it’s not available in ebook until September 2020. Ugh!! (I listened to the second book in audio the next day. :))

This story has so much going for it!  There’s a huge cast of characters that you will fall in love with, and some you will hate.  I loved watching Aren and Lara fall in love – they were so perfect for each other! On top of that there is adventure, deception, forgiveness and war.  It’s so good, I can’t possibly describe it to you.

If you love a good fantasy with great characters then this is a book for you.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5  

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream #1
Also in this series: Quiet Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st and 3rd person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series comes a brand new story about love, friendship, and the bonds of sisterhood.

Evie is a bonafide nerd and a hyper-intelligent chick who has worked her whole life to get what she wants. Growing up, she had no support from her family and has only ever been able to rely on herself. So when Evie decides she wants to earn her engineering degree, she realizes she needs to take an alternative path to get there. She takes a job dancing at Smithie's club thinking this would be a quick side gig, where she can make the money she needs. But with her lack of dancing skills and an alpha bad boy who becomes overly protective, Evie realizes this might not be as easy as she thought.

Daniel "Mag" Magnusson knows a thing or two about pain, but the mask he wears is excellent. No one can tell that this good-looking, quick-witted, and roguish guy has deep-seated issues. Mag puts on a funny-guy routine so he can hide his broken heart and PTSD. But when Evie dances her way into Mag's life, he realizes that he needs to come face-to-face with the demons of his past if he wants a future with her.

Evan is a 27-year-old genius who just wants to finish school and make something of herself.  Unfortunately, her family is constantly holding her back.  She works as a computer repair person part time and strips the rest of the time.  When she finally makes enough money to work on her degree further, her family calls and someone always needs some money for something.  She’s under-appreciated by them, to say the least.

When her brother, Mick, gets arrested once again she heads to see him assuming he’ll ask for bail money – but that’s not the case.  This time he asks her to meet someone and do what he says – all very sketchy, scary and shady but she’ll do what he asks because that’s what family does, right?  That same night she has a blind date with someone her friend Lottie set her up with.  She’s not excited about it at all. When she opens the door to Daniel “Mag” Magnusson she’s loving the eye candy, but still isn’t into him.  Things go awry with their date almost immediately and Mag ends up discovering the “meet” she’s supposed to go to for her brother.  He protects her that night and even calls in his friends to help protect her when the shit hits the fan later in the book.

Through a series of events Evie ends up staying at Mag’s condo, but she plans on moving out quickly.  Evie doesn’t count on liking Mag more and more each day, but she does.  Fortunately for her, Mag seems to like everything about her as well.

While I never read the Rock Chicks series that didn’t impeded my enjoyment of this story.  I was introduced to characters I’d read about in other series, and also the RC’s in all their glory.

Evan was such a good person.  I liked her so much and just wanted her to get everything she wanted in life.  In this story we watch her blossom into the person she should have been year earlier if her family hadn’t been holding her back and down her whole life.  Watching her come into her own was awesome.

Danny aka Mag was a good guy who had some issues.  He was obviously an Alpha male (of course he was, this is a KA novel!) but also had some problems with anger.  He only really let loose of that anger a couple of times, but I appreciated KA showing us instead of just telling us. Despite the anger he was a kind and giving man.  I thought he was perfect for Evan.

Overall this was a good story.  I stayed up late to finish this one and I’m glad I did.  This one is definitely worth reading – even if you didn’t read the Rock Chick series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James

Posted May 19, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #5
Also in this series: Wilde in Love, Too Wilde to Wed, Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3), Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A shy wallflower meets her dream man--or does she?--in the next book in New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James' Wildes of Lindow series.

Miss Viola Astley is so painfully shy that she’s horrified by the mere idea of dancing with a stranger; her upcoming London debut feels like a nightmare.

So she’s overjoyed to meet handsome, quiet vicar with no interest in polite society — but just when she catches his attention, her reputation is compromised by a duke.

Devin Lucas Augustus Elstan, Duke of Wynter, will stop at nothing to marry Viola, including marrying a woman whom he believes to be in love with another man.

A vicar, no less.

Devin knows he’s no saint, but he’s used to conquest, and he’s determined to win Viola’s heart.

Viola has already said Yes to his proposal, but now he wants her unruly heart…and he won’t accept No for an answer.

Viola Astley doesn’t feel like she belongs in her family.  She is an “adopted” daughter in the Wilde family even though her step-father, the Duke of Lindow, considers her his daughter.  Viola is shy and quiet, while the rest of the Wilde family is adventuresome.  She is painfully shy and takes most meals in her room, just to avoid people.  At her first ball she witnessed a man’s rage (not at her but another woman) and this made her even more reclusive.

When Viola meets the new vicar, she is immediately smitten.  Yes, he is quite handsome, but the man listens to her and makes her feel safe.  She sets her sights on him, despite the fact that he is recently engaged to a termagant.

Viola arranges to meet with the vicar during a ball in her and her sister’s honor.  When she arrives in the library she finds it occupied by The Duke of Wynter and his uncle Reginald.  Reginald wants Wynter to meet Viola, but the Duke is set on marrying her sister, Joan.  Wynter states quite clearly that since Viola is an Astley and not a Wilde (confirming Viola’s life-long thoughts) she is not as good as a Wilde and therefore is inferior.  After overhearing this, Viola decides to give her a piece of her mind.  The Duke is fascinated by Viola and sets out to court her, but Viola is stuck on the vicar.

Wynter’s attempts to court Viola, and her brush offs cracked me up.  When the two are caught in a somewhat compromising act, their fate is sealed.  Wynter is thrilled, but Viola still has her doubts because, after all, she’s not a Wilde.

This was a very sweet story.  I really liked Devin (aka Wynter) and his non-stop courting.  He was just so smitten and I loved his determination.  It took a while for Viola to come around but it was worth the wait.

Viola was wonderful as well and I so enjoyed her growth in this book.  She went from shy girl to confident woman and I loved seeing the way she blossomed.

Overall a good story.  I’ve enjoyed the entire Wilde series so far, and look forward to more in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Wildes of Lindow Castle

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath

Posted March 31, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #5
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She’s looking for a nobleman to wed…

Though born out of wedlock, Fancy Trewlove is determined to fulfill her mother’s wish that she marry into nobility. Fancy’s keen intellect and finishing school manners make her the perfect wife for any gentleman—if he’s willing to overlook her scandalous lineage. But Fancy’s plans are thrown into chaos when an intriguing commoner begins visiting her bookshop—and she finds herself unable to stop thinking about him.

He’s looking to escape his title…

Widowed just a year ago, the reclusive Matthew Sommersby, Earl of Rosemont, has been besieged by women hoping to become his next wife. Desperate for anonymity, he sheds Society life to search for the peace that eludes him. Fancy’s shop is his one refuge, until the night their passion erupts into a kiss that nearly leads to her ruin—and leaves both longing for much more.

Together, they discover an unlikely love…

As Fancy finds herself torn between her family’s expectations and her growing feelings for Matthew, secrets are exposed—secrets that force Fancy to question if she can trust her heart’s desire...

Matthew Sommersby, the Earl of Rosemont wants to kill his dead wife.  Ok, she’s already dead, but he’s just that mad at her. Matthew wakes one morning to find a letter from his dead wife in the paper. It’s written to all of the women seeking husbands and it says what a kind man he is and that he was an awesome husband. It tells of all the wonderful things he did during their marriage and that if any single woman would like that in their lives, then they should call on him. After all, she’s dead and he’s grieved for her long enough – he needs to be happy now. Wow.

There are two reasons that Matthew would like to throttle his deceased spouse.  First, for writing and having someone publish the letter which brings droves of women to his home which he hates.  Second, the rubbish she put into the letter didn’t happen at all.  Their marriage was on the rocks from practically day one and none of what she printed was true.  In order to escape the hoards of women and marriage-minded mamas, he seeks out a simpler life in a part of London that no one will thing to look for him.  This location happens to be right next to Fancy Trewlove’s bookstore, so of course he must check it out.

Fancy and Matthew become friends and they each have a tendre for the other, but Fancy is about to make her debut in London.  She’s been told her entire life that she is to marry a man of the aristocracy and this is what she believes she should do. Except…then there’s Matthew and she truly cares about him.  Too bad he’s not a Lord. She truly doesn’t care if she marries a Lord, but she wants to make her family happy and do what they want her to do.

This story was a complete surprise to me.  I knew from previous books in the series that Fancy had been spoiled by her siblings, as she was the youngest of them.  This went as far as her brother building her a bookstore and outfitting it for her. Yes, she ran her own shop, but we’re given to believe that she’s not really romance book material.  Wrong. Though cosseted by her family, she is just as strong as her sister and mother, which is saying something.  Her kindness and love for her fellow human beings knows no bounds. She was truly a joy to read and I’m so glad I didn’t skip her book.

Fancy knows what she wants, to stay with her books forever, but she also loves her family beyond reason and doesn’t want to upset them, even thought it might make her unhappy. She goes along with their wishes and has a coming out ball, but her heart is with her new friend Matthew. Their romance was both sweet and touching. I loved them, both individually and as a couple. Their love of books stole my heart as well.

One of the conflicts in the story was about Matthew and the revelation of his true identity. Yes, I can see how this would upset Fancy, but if it wasn’t for the deception and his dead wife writing that letter, would they have ever met? Who’s to say?

There was also another part that had to do with Fancy and the truth about who her father was.  There’s the truth and then there’s the story that her mother told her. My heart broke for Fancy when she found out the truth, but I can say she handled it so well – like the lady she was.

I really liked this book a lot and definitely recommend you read it. If you had any reservations about Fancy, just put them aside, I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley

Posted March 5, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Tracy
A Mackenzie Clan Christmas by Jennifer Ashley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Celebrate the holidays with New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley's Mackenzie clan in two heartwarming novellas.

Includes A Mackenzie Yuletide, a never before published Mackenzie Christmas novella!

When the Mackenzie family gathers in Scotland to celebrate the holidays, the love and joy of the Christmas spirit captures everyone's hearts.

And a reader favorite...A Mackenzie Clan Gathering

The Mackenzie clan has gathered for Hart's birthday at the sprawling family estate in Scotland. But before the festivities can start, the house is robbed, and thieves make off with an untold fortune in rare art.

Ian Mackenzie and his brothers must do what they can to retrieve the family treasure, but Ian is distracted by a family friend who claims he might have the power to "cure" Ian of his madness forever. All the Mackenzies must draw together as courage, love, and a tantalizing mystery serve to strengthen their bond, and redefine the meaning of family.

A Makenzie Yuletide

The Mackenzie clan is gathering for Christmas at Kilmorgan Castle. Not everyone has arrived but there is about half of the family in residence when Mac Mackenzie thinks he sees a ghost.  Some think he’s just tired but other, mostly the children, want to find the ghost and figure out who it is and where it goes.  Loving chaos ensues and the fun, funny and loving family joins together to figure out the mystery.

Then there’s Ian who has found the perfect gift for his wife, but discovers that the necklace has been stolen and is now missing.  He’s determined to find it – as are his children which makes things a bit crazy.

I liked this novella a lot but wanted it to be longer. This family always makes me smile, especially Ian, and I wanted more.  The original brothers feature in this story, but their kids put in an appearance as well and I loved seeing how they’ve all turned out.  Seeing their parent’s influence on their personalities was a thing of beauty as well. 😊

Overall a great story. Even if you’ve read the second novella in this book I think it’s worth getting just to read this story.

4 out of 5

I read A Mackenzie Clan Gathering back in 2015 and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think it really held up over time.  Still good, but apparently not the type of novella that can be read multiple times.  You can read my original review here.

This time I’d give it a 3.25 out of 5

 

This brings the overall book total to somewhere around a 3.5.

three-half-stars


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